Sunday, June 18, 2006

We like to watch

Finally, a weekend sans child with time to see a movie or two. And we just happened to win the jackpot... we are AFI members, and recently I won a free double pass to see Colour Me Kubrick. Then BB got another free double pass from them to see Wah Wah. Hooray!

Friday night we went to Wah Wah, which is Richard E. Grant's directorial debut, and based upon his childhood in Swaziland, Africa. I am kicking myself because apparently Grant was in Canberra a week ago, introducing the film to (no doubt) a doting audience, and I missed it. Poo bum. Ah, never mind. I also missed the chance to clap eyes on Lily Brett at her partner's recent exhibition opening, which oddly enough I regret more. I am very grateful to the AFI, because without that free pass we probably would have overlooked this movie for something a bit more high-profile. If you're vascillating, take the plunge. It's not cutting edge, or ground-breaking, but it is beautifully written and produced. I can't believe it's Grant's first movie.

Stuffed with celebrities, it doesn't feel self-conscious about the cast, unlike Colour Me Kubrick. The scenery in Wah Wah is so close to Australia's that I felt quite disorientated in the opening credits. The story is crafted strongly, with many layers of story intertwining smoothly and credibly, although BB had problems with believing that Ralph's mother would return (this isn't really a spoiler). We discussed this for a fair while after the movie, because I can see how social and economic circumstances for women in the sixties would make it possible for her to make such a decision. I don't know if BB was convinced, but I put that down to the fact that he's never been through family conflict or messy relationships.

Colour Me Kubrick was also very good, but I found it a bit frustrating in the sense that it's an expensive piece of industry fun, stuffed with in-jokes and technical brilliance. The story was quite inconsequential, didn't start anywhere, didn't go anywhere, but was marvellous fun to be in the midst of. It was just a party anecdote writ large, and it frustrates me that so many resources were devoted to it. Why can't that sort of casting and writing brilliance be devoted to a better story?

It's definitely a movie for Kubrick fans, of which I'm half a one -- haven't seen all the movies, seen some once, and a few many times -- so I picked up enough references to understand that if you're a big Kubrick fan you'd have a great time, but if you knew nothing about Kubrick at all you'd enjoy the movie, but you'd feel like someone who was just at the fringe of a conversaton on a topic you knew nothing about. My favorite moment was recognizing Ken Russell (not really hard to do, his nametag was beside him) playing a mental patient. And I really enjoyed the witty use of Kubrick-related music.

Since we hadn't spent any money going to the cinema (we calculated we'd saved at least over $50), we felt less guilt than usual visiting a few DVD shops and seeing what was on sale. We scored a double DVD of the recent Indian release Water, paired with its sister film Fire (apparently the third in the trilogy, Earth, is very hard to get at the moment, but our friendly Indian supply store is looking for us).

I also found a copy of Soapdish for $5 -- Score! I don't know if anyone else likes this movie, but it's one of those easy-on-the-brain films I love to watch when I'm sick or highly stressed. Funny as hell, it's a complete piss-take of the soap-opera industry, starring Sally Field, Kevin Kline, a very young Robert Downey Jnr (before he wasted himself, in more ways than one) and a young Teri Hatcher with a bit of meat on her bones and Big Hair. I watched it again last night while doing a batch of baking, and found myself chanting along with the dialogue, which means, basically, that I'm a sad case and all hope is lost for me.

The other bargains were The Princess Bride (another chant-along one) and Supersize Me (which I still haven't seen). Plus our mate dropped around Series 4 of West Wing this morning... is it any wonder I'm not watching much live tv? Mind you, I'm addicted to Absolute Power at the moment, but I only stumbled upon that because it's straight after Spicks and Specks, which I do. not. miss.


Mummy/Crit said...

Ah, green with envy. We've become totally hooked on West Wing. It was a sleeper. We half watched it by default for a few weeks, and then about a month ago it hit us. We want more. Tho we're currently watching our way through Kath & Kim, Aunty Jack and Spooks. So our dance card is pretty full.

Dean said...

You didn't mention Whoopi in Soapdish; it's been a while since I've seen it, but her continuity character had me laughing.

Boysenberry said...

*Sigh* now if I could only convince MrsB to see something that isn't mainstream, I could enjoy these sorts of moments :|

JahTeh said...

Andrew Denton's interview with Richard Grant is being repeated on the ABC Monday night.

Thank you I can now admit my secret shame of loving Soapdish which is another of those comfort videos and Whoopi Goldberg is brilliant in it.

Ampersand Duck said...

Ahh... be out & proud about Soapdish, I reckon. It's now old enough to be a classic.

tigtog said...

I'm loving Absolute Power as well, although I think it only really hit its stride last week (Ep3), which is fairly par for a satirical sitcom.

Spicks and Specks and the rest of Auntie's Wednesday - hurrah! Glass House can be a bit facile, but fun, and David and Margaret are delish.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

the Glass House suffers from bad formatting and editing. I find it unwatchable in its present form - get rid of the dumb-arse intros and get straight to the round table with guests.

but Absolute Power rocks! so deliciously dry. drier than a dead dingo's donger, I believe...

Ampersand Duck said...

and so ev-al